Many communities in Ogun State are under threats of having their buildings demolished for erecting them on the Right of Ways (RoWs) of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), it was learnt.
The affected communities: Papalanto, Ibogun, Ogijo, Sagamu (Ogun State) and Badagry (Lagos State) will, however, be compensated, as TCN is finalising plans to that effect.
The structures under power lines, it was learnt, are believed to be frustrating efforts made by the TCN to build power lines and sub-stations, which would help in evacuating electricity from Olorunsogo Power Plant to residents of the communities.
Olorunsogo Gas Turbine Plant has an installed capacity of 335 megawatts (Mw) of electricity and is located 17 kilometers to Papalanto in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The Nation’s investigation revealed that the plant is yet to produce at its optimal level, thus affecting the socio-economic activities in the affected communities.
A visit to Igbogun in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun state, by The Nation, showed how residents were bemoaning their condition, saying they were not certain when TCN would compensate them since their houses have been marked for demolition.
TCN’s General Manager (Public Affairs), Mrs Ndidi Mbah, said the agency was working to improve the conditions of the people, saying the company has fashioned out modalities on how the communities will be compensated.
She said property owners have been asked to compile names and submit their account numbers, so as to enable the agency pay them.
According to her, the Federal Government is working to meet the energy needs of its people, as it has built power plants, sub-stations and imported transmission equipment into the country.
The equipment, Mrs. Mbah said, must be put to work for the government, to achieve its goal of improving electricity generation, distribution and transmission.
The TCN, she said, has landed properties across the country in order to realise its goal of improving electricity supply nationwide.
The Federal Government ‘s aspiration of improving power supply, she said, can be achieved when Nigerians are able co-operate with the government.
Ndidi said: “Communities should desist from infringing on the Right of Ways of the government, or its agencies. By this, communities should not build on the Right of Ways of the government’s agency. For record purpose, TCN’s goal is to help improve supply of electricity nationwide not to witch-hunt Nigerians.
“We at TCN will only demolish communities that built on our Right of Ways. The government, no doubt, is committed to the issue of improving generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in the country. This is evident by the number of sub-stations that were commissioned by the Federal Government in recent times.’’
The government, she said, conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment Programme (EIA), with a view to knowing the effects of building power lines in those communities, adding that the TCN marked the buildings for demolition immediately after the programme.
Also, an official of Adefila &Partners, a firm of Estate valuers, Dapo Olanipekun, said the government should follow due diligence whenever its comes to demolition of properties that are built on its Right of Ways and subsequent payment to the victims.
Adefila & Partners was hired, by the communities, with a view to ensuring that adequate compensation is paid to the affected communities.
He said the constitution is explicit on issues such as land usage, Right of Ways and others, adding that the Federal Government has a considerable level of control over lands.
He said the power lines may likely run through three areas namely Ejio, Ogijo and Badagry, adding that the areas were separated by several kilometers.
‘’Given this description, the areas or communities that are going to be demolished by TCN, in order to pave the way for the construction of pipelines should be more than one hundred. The project is massive and requires due diligence, which the Federal Government and Japan International Energy Cooperation (JICA) have given it. I strongly believe that the government would pay compensation, therefore, the communities need to exercise patience,’’ he said.
Also, Community Development Association (CDA) Chairman, Top City Estate in Ibogun, Samson Adeyemi, holds similar views. According to him, the TCN has promised to pay compensation to landlords in Ibogun and other communities. He urged the government to hasten the process.
He said residents are expecting compensation from the government, arguing that the planned demolition of buildings by the TCN has slowed economic activities in the areas. He said many have abandoned work on their sites, while others have sold their houses cheaply.
Authored By: Akinola Ajibade